MAYOR NUTTER ANNOUNCES CITY SELECTED AS RECIPIENT OF ‘SECOND CHANCE ACT’ GRANT FROM U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Philadelphia, September 30, 2014 Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that the City of Philadelphia has been selected as recipient of a Second Chance Act grant from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ),Bureau of Justice Assistance, to help Philadelphians who have been released from the City prison system to become productive citizens and avoid re-incarceration.  The federal Second Chance Act of 2008 authorizes federal grants to government agencies and non-profit organizations to provide strategies and services designed to reduce recidivism by improving opportunities for returning citizens.  The announcement comes one day after Mayor Nutter announced that the City will also receive three competitive grants from the DOJ Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

The $750,000 award, complemented by City funds, will support the Philadelphia Returning Citizens Demonstration Program. This new program will enroll 105 medium- to high-risk male returning citizens, ages 18-40, and will focus on reducing recidivism among the group.  All of the program participants have served time in the Philadelphia Prison System (PPS) and are returning to homes in North Philadelphia’s 22nd Police District, which is the focus of the city’s Youth Violence Prevention Strategy.

“Every year, thousands of citizens are released from local correctional facilities and return to their families and friends in Philadelphia.  Their successful re-integration into our communities is often hindered by challenges like a lack of education, job-training and limited opportunities for employment and housing,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.  “This Second Chance grant provides funds to create a solid programmatic structure which will allow the City of Philadelphia to provide our returning citizens with a seamless and coordinated re-entry process.  The Philadelphia Returning Citizens Demonstration Program will provide services like job readiness and placement, as well as skills training, adult literacy and housing supports.”

The Philadelphia Returning Citizens Demonstration Program will be led by the Mayor’s Office of Reintegration Services (R.I.S.E.) working in partnership with the Philadelphia Re-entry Coalition, whose 70+ members include all relevant government and community-based stakeholders including the Philadelphia Prison System (PPS), the Mayor’s Office of Public Safety, the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy (MCOL) and the First Judicial District Adult Probation and Parole Department.  The Urban Institute, a nationally renowned research and policy organization,  will serve as research partner.  The program includes City-led, innovative programs like MCOL’s myPLACE, and two FastFWD graduates: Texitzen and Jail Education Solutions.

“For the last six years, R.I.S.E. has worked with the Philadelphia Prisons to offer a seamless link from custody services to community engagement for returning citizens. This grant will enable both agencies to expand these efforts,” said Louis Giorla, Commissioner for the Philadelphia Prison System.  “The targeted geographical area has one of the City’s highest concentrations of returning citizens and one of the highest recidivism rates.  The combination of in-custody and post-release services will compliment the City’s global approach to revitalizing its most challenged neighborhoods.”

The baseline recidivism rate for the 22nd Police District is 45.13%, which is among the highest rates in the city.  The Retuning Citizens Demonstration Program will utilize a multi-discipline, multi-sector Re-Entry Task Force to guide planning and implementation of pre- and post-release services designed to support coordinated and successful re-entry. After being released from the City prison system, program participants will receive services and referrals for housing, employment readiness and placement, behavioral health care, legal services, and life skills training, among others. The City expects to see a 50% reduction in the rate of recidivism over a 5 year period for the target area.

On Monday, Mayor Nutter announced that the City will receive three competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) as part of the City’s on-going efforts to reduce youth violence and provide productive pathways to adulthood.

The grants are the following:

  • $600,000 for the School Justice Collaboration Program: Keeping Kids in School and Out of Courts for the School Diversion Program;
  • $227,430 from the Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS) Collaboration on the Youth Opportunity Corps for expansion of PowerCorpsPHL;
  • And $100,000 for the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention (Forum) for expansion of Philadelphia’s Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative.

The three awards seek to improve school safety, stem the “school-to-prison” pipeline and improve the educational and employment outcomes for young people, especially young men of color.  The grant from the Forum for the expansion of the City’s Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative will seek to replicate the B.A.M. (Becoming A Man) program in Philadelphia.

B.A.M. is a dropout and violence prevention program for at-risk male students in grades 7-12. B.A.M. offers in-school programming, in some cases complemented by after-school sports, to develop social-cognitive skills strongly correlated with reductions in violent and anti-social behavior.  A recent, controlled trial conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab showed that B.A.M. reduced violent crime arrests by 44%, reduced weapons crimes by 36%, reduced the likelihood of attending school in a juvenile justice setting by 53%, and increased future graduation rates by 10-23%.

Alignment with City and Federal Programs: Mayor Michael Nutter and his Administration have strategically and intentionally developed targeted, place-based strategies for the 22nd Police District in North Philadelphia. Through the leadership and coordination of the Mayor’s Office of Grants, the City is working with federal, state, corporate, and philanthropic sectors to attract funding to revitalize North Philadelphia and support programs that specifically advocate for young adult males of color. For example, North Philadelphia is the target of a U.S. Department of Justice Youth Violence Prevention “National Forum” (2012 & 2014) award, a Community Based Violence Prevention “Ceasefire” award (2012), U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Choice Neighborhoods Planning (2013) award and most recently, a $30M HUD Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant for North Central Philadelphia. The Returning Citizens Demonstration project is also consistent with the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative (MBK), of which Mayor Michael Nutter is co-chair.

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